Empowering women using technology can be `game changer`: India

India has stressed that empowering women using technology can be a "game changer" if harnessed to its full potential and called for a need to bridge the digital divide between men and women.

PTI| Last Updated: Jun 18, 2014, 15:50 PM IST

New York: India has stressed that empowering women using technology can be a "game changer" if harnessed to its full potential and called for a need to bridge the digital divide between men and women.

"From a developing country perspective, empowering women using enabling technologies, can be a game changer if harnessed and applied to its full potential," India`s Permanent Representative to the UN Asoke Mukerji said.

"Many here are aware that technology has the power to significantly transform the narrative of the women`s empowerment debate in developing countries," he said at the annual session of the Executive Board of UN Women, the organisation dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women.
Mukerji said by applying enhanced information and communication technologies for women in education, healthcare, clean drinking water and energy, nations can "significantly empower their role as force-multipliers" in society.

"By facilitating the access to, and use of, such technologies, we can empower women to realise their full potential, including in the manufacturing and services sectors of the economy," the Indian envoy said.

"In many developing countries where women need to be enabled to become economically empowered while continuing to perform their roles in their homes, the change that such technologies can unleash has immense potential," he said.
Mukerji said one of the challenges would be to bridge the digital divide since the gender gap in women`s access to the internet is greater than that of mobile phones, with women being 23 per cent less likely to use the internet in low-to-medium income countries.

"This lack of access is giving rise to a second digital divide, one where women and girls risk being left further and further behind," he added.

Mukerji stressed that a key theme that needs to be factored into the programming activities of UN Women is a clear vision of a "gender equal world" as nations collectively gear for shaping the development discourse on the post 2015 development agenda.